It's been a while since the 'Gas Girls' have been able to train together at F45, but there is another way.
January always brings us an opportunity to attack the new year with a sense of positivity, and a refreshed sense of ambition. However, it’s safe to say that Lockdown 3.0 has felt like running into a brick wall for all of us.
It goes with out saying that this new Lockdown period is desperately needed to ease the pressure on the NHS while hospital admissions continue to rise due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It could be safe to assume that this Lockdown will be more difficult on us all, in comparison to the previous restrictions in 2020.
With our season on hold for a second time and with no date of return currently in sight, it was imperative that we were able to establish a schedule and a routine for all players, to help them with their fitness, mental well-being, and productivity. On the evening of the Lockdown announcement, Bristol Rovers Women’s volunteer staff started to arrange a weekly timetable of different activities to ensure that our players were engaged and to remind them that our support network is there for them when/if needed. So, what are the ‘Gas Girls’ doing, during Lockdown 3.0?
Fitness & Injury Prevention Sessions
It’s clear that regular physical activity can do wonders for more than just your strength and endurance, but it’s proven to be a major benefit for your mental health as well. With this in mind, ‘Gas Girls’ volunteer fitness coach, Paul Mason, is hosting three workout programmes every week that cover numerous topics and techniques that will help the girls when we eventually return. A lack of structure during a Lockdown can be incredibly detrimental to anyone’s mental wellbeing, so our fitness sessions consistently take place on a Sunday afternoon followed by a Tuesday and Thursday evening to mirror the timings of what we would usually be doing during the week.
The Sunday sessions predominantly focuses on cardio endurance, attempting to mirror the physical effects and attributes of a usual match-day. Of course, there are restrictions but being able to recreate a similar cardio output will keep endurance levels as high as it possibly can be.
On Tuesday, we focus on Mobility, Flexibility, and Injury Prevention Training. The side-effects of a high intensity cardio workout could potentially lead to future injuries if the recovery is not completed efficiently. This session focuses on the exercises that the girls can do to prevent those niggles and strains.
Thursday evening sessions are based on strength. Working on your overall strength can decrease the risk of injury, improve your balance, and increase power, whether it’s striking the ball, changing movement, and becoming more powerful during sprints.
Sunday's cardio session with volunteer fitness coach, Paul Mason are pretty brutal!
Match and Player Secretary, Debbie Philips also offers her expertise as a certified mental-health first-aider. Mental health is something that we take seriously here at Bristol Rovers Women’s. Debbie hosts an online drop-in session via Zoom where the staff and squad members can meet and bring up anything they would like to discuss. The sessions take place on a Monday and a Friday evening where the squad can come up with ideas to motivate each other or offer advice to help us through this difficult period. Lockdown 3.0 is considered to be more difficult on our mental health than any other time previously due to “Lockdown Fatigue”, so it’s important for us all to keep in touch and check-in with the girls to offer any help if needed.
Debbie Philips has become integral part of the Bristol Rovers Women's FC family
Despite the obvious positive effects of physical activity, we wanted to make sure that the girls had the resources to continue working with a football. First-Team Manager, Nathan Hallet-Young has produced a selection of technical sessions that our players can do in their spare time, to keep the rustiness away. We supplied the girls with a ball and some other pieces of equipment, if they didn’t have anything at home, to work on these sessions in their garden or during their designated exercise period. Nathan releases a new session every week for the girls to try in their own time.
Each session is very well attended, and everyone puts in 100%. Knowing that these sessions are available and are well reciprocated by the squad makes it all worthwhile. Every session we provide is optional for every player and it’s amazing to see the number of girls buying into the routine.
Of course, none of this would be possible it wasn’t for our incredible volunteers who are unbelievably passionate about the growth of club and the development women’s game. Without them, we simply would not be able to provide these programmes for our girls.
For more information about our Fitness Coach, Paul Mason, and the services that he can provide, check out his Twitter Page by clicking here